Walking Tall With Atlanta’s Big Mike Geier

Big Mike Geier’s Elvis Royale is a Vegas-style stage spectacular celebrating the music and life of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. You may also know him from Puddles Pity Party.

Photo by: Emily Butler Geier is flanked by dancers in Atlanta's burlesque troupe Dames Aflame. 

If you haven’t made plans in Atlanta this weekend, stop what you’re doing and Sharpie this to your calendar: Elvis Royale at the Variety Playhouse on Saturday, January 25. Fronted by Big Mike Geier, the Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra will be joined by Atlanta’s own burlesque troupe Dames Aflame for what Geier calls “the cavalcade of Elvis.” 

Geier also makes the rounds as Puddles the Clown, aka Puddles Pity Party.

Photo by: Emily Butler At 6' 8", Geier has earned the moniker of Big Mike. He is seen here with a very limber member of the Atlanta burlesque troupe Dames Aflame. 

“If you’re not an Elvis fan when you walk in, you will be when you walk out,” said Geier. 

Geier began this celebration of all things Elvis about 15 years at the Star Community Bar and each year since the production has grown more lavish with the addition of dozens of showgirls, a parade of Elvis’ along with other multimedia features. Expect to see folks decked in their Vegas finest and partying in the parking lot beforehand. For the encore the Kingsized Orchestra performs a song chosen by the audience that Elvis could have covered had he lived. 

“It’s not about sounding better than the original artist; it’s about sounding different and making it interesting in my own way, from my own experiences, with my own voice” said Geier.

The 6’8” Geier started performing in the early 90’s when he fronted the “Swing Noir” band the Useless Playboys who toured with acts such as the Reverend Horton Heat, Southern Culture on the Skids and El Vez. In 1995, Geier formed the band Kingsized, a 13-piece band that covers genres from swing to soul to rock ‘n roll and tours all over the world. He can also be seen appearing as the surreal and melancholy front clown of Puddles Pity Party, which recently toured with the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live stage show. 

Photo by: Emily Butler Mike Geier also performs all around the country as the frontman and the world's saddest clown for Puddles Pity Party.

If you miss him on Saturday, don’t fret. You can also catch him at Trader Vic’s once a month in Tongo Hiti, Atlanta’s only Polynesian-pop band. Geier has also appeared on the Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner South, MTV, Playboy TV, PBS and all four of the major networks. He also writes and records music for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

Visit Kingsized to see all of Big Mike Geier’s projects in their various incarnations.

We attempted taking a walk in Big Mike’s shoes and asked him about his favorite spots around Atlanta. 

Photo by: Linette Marie Morgan Rutledge Mike Geier, pictured here as Puddles of Puddles Pity Party, helps relax funny man Bobcat Goldthwait as he gets new ink.

Q: What is your favorite building in Atlanta?

A: It's not much in the way of architecture, but I'm always somehow comforted yet somewhat perplexed by the KODAK storefront that still exists right there on Ponce across the street from Krispy Kreme (between Piedmont and Monroe). I remember in the 90's, driving by and always seeing a cat sitting in the dirty window. 

Then, as years past, the place seemed more and more deserted. I have no idea what the story is on that place. But it has become quite a relic. And it has always been in Atlanta since I've been in Atlanta. So I kinda feel a kinship with it. Despite all the changes Atlanta has been through, the building is still there. Despite all the places that photography/technology has gone to (iPhones/digital photography), the store front and sign is still there. 

Photo by: Emily Butler Woody Harrelson celebrated his birthday at the tree homes of friend Peter Bahouth. Harrelson was in Atlanta filming Triple Nine; costar Casey Affleck and his wife Summer Phoenix were also in attendance. 

Despite all the changes that I've been through and places I've been, I'm still here. 

Q: Where is your favorite spot in Georgia to take a day trip?

A: As business owners and professional performer/artist, we don't get many days off. But the last time my wife and I enjoyed a field day in Georgia, it was actually just a trip to Buford Highway to shop in the Farmer's Market and Flea Market and get some tasty Pho.  

Q: If your friends only had 24 hours in Atlanta, where would you take them?

A: It all depends on where they're from and what they're into, but here is where we often end up taking our out of town guests:

  • Bone Garden Cantina for lunch. 
  • Paris on Ponce; whether you've got 30 minutes or 3 hours, it's worth checking out. 
  • Sister Louisa's for a beer and art and fellowship. 
  • Rathbun's Steak for just that. 
  • Trader Vic's especially on Thursday night for $6 Mai Tai and killer live music. 
  • Lastly, we’d go to Argosy in East Atlanta for a nightcap and midnight snack.  
  • The next day, on way to airport, pick up Daddy D'z to eat in the car or on the plane. 
  • Or we scratch all the above and just go to Your Dekalb Farmer's Market for groceries and I cook a big giant dinner and breakfast at the Newton-Geier B 'n B. 

Big Mike's Favorite Atlanta Spots

Photo by: Stacy Fox The building that once housed Goody's Camera Store has remained empty and abandoned for over a decade. 

Photo courtesy Bone Garden Cantina Located in West Midtown, Bone Garden Cantina is popular for its artwork as well as its authentic Mexican cuisine. 

Photo courtesy Paris on Ponce Located in the Old Fourth Ward/Poncey Highlands, Paris on Ponce is a one-of-a-kind antiques store that also has an event venue where Big Mike performs. 

Photo courtesy Church Located in the Old Fourth Ward, Church is a favorite stop for local sinners as well as visiting celebrities in need of salvation and a stiff cocktail. 

Photo courtesy Rathbun's Kevin Rathbun's steakhouse is a favorite eatery and watering hole located in the Edgewood/Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta. 

Photo courtesy Trader Vic's Atlanta Located at the Hilton in downtown Atlanta, Trader Vic's is popular for its Mai Tais and eclectic tiki vibe. 

Photo courtesy: Argosy Open for late night fun, Argosy is located in the East Atlanta Village. 

Photo courtesy Daddy D'z This joint's motto is "we ain't pretty, but we're good." Daddy D'z is located near Grant Park and the Oakland Historic Cemetery. 

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